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Hanami
Hanami
(花見, "flower viewing") is the Japanese traditional custom of enjoying the transient beauty of flowers; flowers ("hana") are in this case almost always referring to those of the cherry ("sakura") or, less frequently, plum ("ume") trees.[1] From the end of March to early May, cherry trees bloom all over Japan,[2] and around the first of February on the island of Okinawa.[3] The blossom forecast (桜前線, sakura-zensen) "cherry blossom front" is announced each year by the weather bureau, and is watched carefully by those planning hanami as the blossoms only last a week or two. In modern-day Japan, hanami mostly consists of having an outdoor party beneath the sakura during daytime or at night. In some contexts the Sino-Japanese term kan'ō (観桜, view-cherry) is used instead, particularly for festivals. Hanami
Hanami
at night is called yozakura (夜桜) "night sakura". In many places such as Ueno Park
Ueno Park
temporary paper lanterns are hung for the purpose of yozakura. On the island of Okinawa, decorative electric lanterns are hung in the trees for evening enjoyment, such as on the trees ascending Mt. Yae, near Motobu Town, or at the Nakijin Castle. A more ancient form of hanami also exists in Japan, which is enjoying the plum blossoms (梅 ume) instead, which is narrowly referred to as umemi (梅見, plum-viewing). This kind of hanami is popular among older people, because they are calmer than the sakura parties, which usually involve younger people and can sometimes be very crowded and noisy.

Contents

1 History 2 Today 3 Outside Japan 4 See also 5 References 6 External links

History[edit]

In these spring days, when tranquil light encompasses the four directions, why do the blossoms scatter with such uneasy hearts?

Ki no Tomonori
Ki no Tomonori
(c. 850 – c. 904)[4]

The practice of hanami is many centuries old. The custom is said to have started during the Nara period
Nara period
(710–794) when it was ume blossoms that people admired in the beginning. But by the Heian period (794–1185), sakura came to attract more attention and hanami was synonymous with sakura.[5] From then on, in both waka and haiku, "flowers" meant "sakura."[6][7] Hanami
Hanami
was first used as a term analogous to cherry blossom viewing in the Heian era novel The Tale of Genji. Although a wisteria viewing party was also described, the terms "hanami" and "flower party" were subsequently used only in reference to cherry blossom viewing. Sakura
Sakura
originally was used to divine that year's harvest as well as announce the rice-planting season. People believed in kami inside the trees and made offerings. Afterwards, they partook of the offering with sake. Emperor Saga
Emperor Saga
of the Heian period
Heian period
adopted this practice, and held flower-viewing parties with sake and feasts underneath the blossoming boughs of sakura trees in the Imperial Court in Kyoto. Poems would be written praising the delicate flowers, which were seen as a metaphor for life itself, luminous and beautiful yet fleeting and ephemeral. This was said to be the origin of Hanami
Hanami
in Japan.

If there were no cherry blossoms in this world How much more tranquil our hearts would be in spring.

Ariwara no Narihira
Ariwara no Narihira
(825–880)[8]

The custom was originally limited to the elite of the Imperial Court, but soon spread to samurai society and, by the Edo period, to the common people as well. Tokugawa Yoshimune planted areas of cherry blossom trees to encourage this. Under the sakura trees, people had lunch and drank sake in cheerful feasts. The teasing proverb dumplings rather than flowers (花より団子, hana yori dango) hints at the real priorities for most cherry blossom viewers, meaning that people are more interested in the food and drinks accompanying a hanami party than actually viewing the flowers themselves.[9][10] Dead bodies are buried under the cherry trees! is a popular saying about hanami, after the opening sentence of the 1925 short story "Under the Cherry
Cherry
Trees" by Motojirō Kajii.

Ukiyo-e
Ukiyo-e
painting from The Tale of Genji, chapter 20 Hana no En, "Under the Cherry
Cherry
Blossoms", by artist Kunisada
Kunisada
(1852)

Cherry
Cherry
Blossom Viewing Picnic, ca. 1624–1644. Edo period, Kan'ei Era. Ink, color and gold leaf on paper, Brooklyn
Brooklyn
Museum

Hanami
Hanami
in Osaka. People enjoy viewing blossoms with dance, music, food and sake. The black box on the right is a multi-tiered bento box. Hiroshige
Hiroshige
(1834)

Ladies in the Edo palace enjoying cherry blossoms, Toyohara Chikanobu (1894)

Evening Banquet for Cherry-blossom Viewing at the Rokujô Palace (Rokujô gosho hanami no yûen) Kunisada
Kunisada
(1855)

Woodblock print by Tsukioka Yoshitoshi, series ’Courageous Warriors (Yoshitoshi musha burui)’, Kurō Hangan Minamoto Yoshitsune and Musashibō Benkei under a cherry tree

Today[edit] The Japanese people continue the tradition of hanami, gathering in great numbers wherever the flowering trees are found. Thousands of people fill the parks to hold feasts under the flowering trees, and sometimes these parties go on until late at night. In more than half of Japan, the cherry blossoming days come at the same time as the beginning of school and work after vacation, and so welcoming parties are often opened with hanami. Usually, people go to the parks to keep the best places to celebrate hanami with friends, family, and company coworkers many hours or even days before. In cities like Tokyo, it is also common to have celebrations under the sakura at night. Hanami
Hanami
at night is called yozakura (夜桜, "night sakura"). In many places such as Ueno Park, temporary paper lanterns are hung to have yozakura. The cherry blossom front is forecast each year, previously by the Japan Meteorological Agency
Japan Meteorological Agency
and now by private agencies, and is watched with attention by those who plan to celebrate hanami because the blossoms last for very little time, usually no more than two weeks. The first cherry blossoms happen in the subtropical southern islands of Okinawa, while on the northern island of Hokkaido, they bloom much later. In most large cities like Tokyo, Kyoto
Kyoto
and Osaka, the cherry blossom season normally takes place around the end of March and the beginning of April. The television and newspapers closely follow this cherry blossom front, as it slowly moves from South to North.[11] In 2018 blossoms were scheduled to open in Fukuoka on March 21st, in Kyoto
Kyoto
March 27th, in Tokyo March 26th and Sapporo May 1st. [12] The hanami celebrations usually involve eating and drinking, and playing and listening to music. Some special dishes are prepared and eaten at the occasion, like dango and bento, and sake is commonly drunk as part of the festivity.

Hanami
Hanami
through the "Tunnel" at Japan Mint
Japan Mint
in Osaka, 2016

Play media

(video) Hanami
Hanami
picknickers in Bunkyō, 2015

Hanami
Hanami
at Maruyama Park behind Yasaka Shrine in Kyoto, 2014

Hanami
Hanami
parties along the Kamo River, 2005

A blossom forecast for 2006, with the predicted dates of blossoms. The numbers are for dates (3.22 is March 22). Note the "cherry blossom front" moves from South to North.

A colourful collection of sweet and savoury snacks to nibble on between sips of sake, while admiring the cherry blossoms.

Outside Japan[edit]

International Cherry
Cherry
Blossom Festival in Macon, Georgia

Smaller hanami celebrations take place in Taiwan, Korea, the Philippines, and China.[13] In the United States, hanami has also become very popular. In 1912, Japan gave 3,000 sakura trees as a gift to the United States to celebrate the nations' friendship. These trees were planted in Washington, D.C., and another 3,800 trees were donated in 1965.[14] These sakura trees continue to be a popular tourist attraction, and every year, the National Cherry
Cherry
Blossom Festival takes place when they bloom in early spring.[15] In Macon, Georgia, another cherry blossom festival called the International Cherry
Cherry
Blossom Festival is celebrated every spring. Macon is known as the Cherry
Cherry
Blossom Capital of the World, because 300,000 sakura trees grow there.[16] In Brooklyn, New York, the Annual Sakura
Sakura
Matsuri
Matsuri
Cherry
Cherry
Blossom Festival takes place in May, at the Brooklyn
Brooklyn
Botanic Garden.[17] This festivity has been celebrated since 1981, and is one of the Garden's most famous attractions. Similar celebrations are also held in Philadelphia[18] and other places through the United States. The largest collection of sakura in the United States is in Newark, New Jersey's Branch Brook Park, whose over 5,000 cherry trees of 18 varieties attract 10,000 visitors a day during its annual Cherry Blossom Festival.[19][20] Hanami
Hanami
is also celebrated in several European countries. For example, in Finland people gather to celebrate hanami in Helsinki at Roihuvuori. Local Japanese people and companies have donated 200 cherry trees which are all planted in Kirsikkapuisto. Those cherry trees usually bloom in mid-May. In Rome, in Italy, the hanami is celebrated in the park of the Eur, where are a lot of cherry trees were donated by Japan in 1959.[21] See also[edit]

Momijigari, autumn leaf viewing Subaru Cherry
Cherry
Blossom Festival of Greater Philadelphia Tsukimi, moon viewing

References[edit]

^ Sosnoski, Daniel (1996). Introduction to Japanese culture. Tuttle Publishing. p. 12. ISBN 0-8048-2056-2.  ^ " Cherry
Cherry
blossom forecast" (in Japanese). Weather Map.  ^ " Okinawa
Okinawa
Cherry
Cherry
Festivals". Archived from the original on 2011-07-22.  ^ Pictures of the heart: the hyakunin isshu in word and image, University of Hawaii Press, 1996, By Joshua S. Mostow, page 105 ^ Brooklyn
Brooklyn
Botanic Garden (2006). Mizue Sawano: The Art of the Cherry Tree. Brooklyn
Brooklyn
Botanic Garden. p. 12. ISBN 1-889538-25-6.  ^ Hoffman, Michael, "Sakura: Soul of Japan", "Petals 'perfect beyond belief' stir poetic", Japan Times, 25 March 2012, p. 7. ^ Inoki, Linda, "Tracing the trees in a long national love affair", The Japan Times, 25 March 2012, p. 7. ^ " Cherry
Cherry
Blossom Viewing". Japan Mint. Archived from the original on May 23, 2007. Retrieved August 14, 2007.  ^ Buchanan, Daniel Crump (1973). Japanese Proverbs and Sayings. University of Oklahoma Pres. p. 175. ISBN 0-8061-1082-1.  ^ Trimnell, Edward (2004). Tigers, Devils, and Fools: A Guide to Japanese Proverbs. Beechmont Crest Publishing. p. 41. ISBN 0-9748330-2-9.  ^ Akasegawa, Genpei (2000). Sennin no sakura, zokujin no sakura: Nippon kaibo kiko (in Japanese). Osaka
Osaka
Seikei University, Kyoto, Japan: JTB Nihon Kotsu Kosha Shuppan Jigyokyoku. ISBN 978-4-533-01983-8. As cherry blossom front comes up, the whole Japan goes into a war; we just can't sit home and let it go.  ^ url=https://www.foodiesgolocal.com/cuisine-and-culture/the-food-file/hanami-sakura-food-drink-cherry-blossoms.html ^ "Spring flower festival events". Seoul
Seoul
Metropolitan Government. Archived from the original on February 2, 2009. Retrieved August 18, 2007.  ^ "HISTORY OF THE CHERRY TREES". National Park Service, United States.  ^ "National Cherry
Cherry
Blossom Festiva". Official Site. Retrieved August 16, 2007.  ^ "International Cherry
Cherry
Blossom Festival Online". Official Site. Retrieved August 16, 2007.  ^ " Brooklyn
Brooklyn
Botanic Garden Celebrates Hanami". Brooklyn
Brooklyn
Botanic Garden, Brooklyn, New York. Archived from the original on August 8, 2007. Retrieved August 17, 2007.  ^ "Subaru Cherry
Cherry
Blossom Festival of Greater Philadelphia". Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Retrieved August 17, 2007.  ^ " Branch Brook Park
Branch Brook Park
FAQs". Retrieved March 26, 2016.  ^ Di Ionno, Mark (27 March 2016). "The story behind Branch Brook Park's cherry blossom trees". The Star-Ledger. Retrieved 9 February 2018.  ^ ""Passeggiata del Giappone"". 

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Hanami.

Hanami
Hanami
in Philadelphia! Information on the Subaru Cherry
Cherry
Blossom Festival of Greater Philadelphia Hanami
Hanami
Documentary produced by Oregon Field Guide Hanami
Hanami
Fun Facts — Japanzine:Field Guide to Japan by Zack Davisson Hanami
Hanami
Manners 101 — Japanzine by Emily Millar Kyotoview — Hanami
Hanami
In Kyoto Cherry
Cherry
Blossom Forecast Yearly map of

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